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News Wrap: Syrian roadside bomb kills U.S., UK soldiers

In our news wrap Friday, an American soldier and a British soldier were killed in Northern Syria in the military campaign against Islamic State fighters. Also, Palestinian protesters confronted Israeli troops along the Gaza border in the bloodiest day there since 2014. Palestinians said at least 15 people were killed by Israeli fire.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    An American soldier has been killed in Northern Syria in the military campaign against Islamic State fighters. A British soldier died in the same roadside bomb attack. A local Syrian official says it happened overnight in Manbij, where American troops are aiding anti-ISIS forces. President Trump said yesterday that the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria will be leaving very soon. But the Pentagon’s U.S. Central Command said that it has no information on that.

    Palestinian protesters confronted Israeli troops along the Gaza border today in the bloodiest day there since 2014. The Palestinians said at least 15 people were killed by Israeli fire.

    Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi witnessed the violence. He spoke with us via Skype a short while ago from Gaza City.

  • Nidal al-Mughrabi:

    We have seen lots of people, thousands, and several thousands have started to come early to the location east of Gaza along the border with Israel.

    According to the organizers, people should have stayed 700 meters away from the border, but many, many, many of the protesters have ignored the calls of organizes to stay that far. People throw stones. The Israeli responded by tear gas, live fire and rubber bullets, as well as casualties started to fall.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Why is this happening right now? We know that this has been a special day for the Palestinians. What was the immediate impetus?

  • Nidal al-Mughrabi:

    Every year, it’s been some celebrations and some demonstrations to commemorate the day in 1976, you know, like a loss of land.

    But, this day, it was different. Palestinian factions, including the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have supported an idea to mass thousands, and, if they could, tens of thousands of people along the border with Israel to demand the right of return.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Israelis are accusing the Palestinians, accusing Hamas, of deliberately sending women and children to the border, putting them at risk, in other words. Did you see that?

  • Nidal al-Mughrabi:

    The Israelis, since the morning, they have said that Hamas was exploiting the crowds for its own purposes, in order to send civilians to be face to face with Israeli soldiers along the border.

    What happened today, you know, we have seen all — you know, like, people from all factions, but we have seen lots of people who are frustrated of everything.

    They are frustrated of the lack of peace. They are frustrated for the lack of any horizon. It has made no difference to them whether they live or die because the situation in Gaza was so terrible.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It is late at night there. Have things calmed down?

  • Nidal al-Mughrabi:

    Many — or I can say most of the protesters have returned home.

    The Palestinian president has asked for the United Nations to meet over what happened today in Gaza. He condemned it, and he asked the U.N. Security Council to afford the Palestinians with international protection because of what happened.

    Tomorrow, there will be a national mourning day and also strike. So that is also another reason why we could expect more clashes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Nidal Al-Mughrabi with Reuters, thank you very much.

  • Nidal al-Mughrabi:

    You’re welcome.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Christians marked Good Friday across much of the world today from Jerusalem to the Vatican and elsewhere. Pope Francis began services at St. Peter’s Basilica by lying prostrate before the altar. Security was heavy for the occasion.

    And in the Northern Philippines, crowds gathered to witness and record as seven Roman Catholics were nailed to crosses. The church has tried to discourage the ritual.

    Back in this country, a jury in Florida has acquitted the widow of the gunman who massacred 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Noor Salman was found not guilty of lying to the FBI and hiding her husband’s extremist beliefs. Omar Mateen was killed by police in the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack.

    Independent autopsy results raised new questions today about the police killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, California. On March 18, two officers fired 20 times at Clark, shouting that he had a gun. It turned out to be a cell phone.

    Today, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is a pathologist hired by the family, said that eight shots hit Clark, and seven of those were from behind. Police had said that he was coming toward them.

  • Dr. Bennet Omalu:

    The proposition that has been presented, that he was assailing the officers, meaning he was facing the officers, is inconsistent with the prevailing forensic evidence.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Dr. Omalu is known for his groundbreaking study of brain injuries in pro football players. That prompted the NFL to adopt new safety rules.

    More than two dozen school districts in Kentucky closed today, when hundreds of teachers called in sick. They are protesting a pension overhaul adopted late last night. It says new teachers will be not be guaranteed a set benefit amount. This follows a teachers strike in West Virginia and threats of job actions in several other states.

    And a Russian hacker accused of attacking Silicon Valley companies is back in the United States to face trial. The Czech Republic extradited Yevgeniy Nikulin last night. He’s charged with hacking systems at LinkedIn, Dropbox, and other American firms.

    Still to come on the “NewsHour,” Russia strikes back, expelling 60 American diplomats from the country; Atlanta the target of a large-scale cyber-attack; plus, inside the government command center tasked with fending off hackers; and much more.

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